newbie to HO need advice on the cork/foam roadbed and code 100 track?

sherman89 Apr 24, 2020

  1. sherman89

    sherman89 TrainBoard Member

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    I am new to trains and have jumped in the deep end with a 5X11 layout (top of a pool table no longer being used) which consisted of Bachmann EZ track with 4 rectangular tracks with a over/under in the middle so running 5 DC trains at once with 15-17 box car trains on the 4 rectangles and a 10 car CDN grain hoppers in the center with the over/under----after a few frustrating weeks with the over/under and it was pulled. The center grew into a industrial area with a Grain elevator, cement plant, a gravel crushing op, a redi-mix plant with related sidings. and a Locomotive garage for 2 engines. I am getting to the end where there is just no more room so I am looking to expand to a U shape off the end of the main board and doing a double train loop which leads me to my question as I will be using 25' of double track for a total of 100' for 2 complete layouts side by side powered by DC. they will branch off from the original layout and then return to the original layout so I will need to go from Bachmann EZ to Atlas/Kato and then back to Bachmann. I have looked into laying my own track but know nothing about it other than what I see on you-tube. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  2. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    Where is the Kato track located? I understand that the main layout is Bachmann. Is the expansion Kato? If you are using Kato unitrack, keep in mind that it is code 83, while Bachmann is of course code 100.

    If you want to use flex track and cork, the process is pretty straightforward. There are a lot of variations, but basically it boils down to attaching roadbed and then putting track on top.
    1. draw out track centerlines on your layout
    2. tear the cork strips down the middle
    3. orient them so the cut angle form the classic embankment and glue one flush with the track centerline. Use wood glue or caulk.
    4. once the glue sets on the first, glue the second half down. The two halves should butt up with the track centerline in the middle.
    5. attach the track with either track nails or glue.
    6. weather/paint (optional)
    If you are referring to using the flextrack as a transition piece between different brands of all-in-one (ballasted) track, you just need a small section with rail joiners on each end. Joining code 100 to Kato code 83 is difficult because of the Kato unijoiner, so this may take soldering.
     
  3. sherman89

    sherman89 TrainBoard Member

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    thank you for the reply, I think I want to go with flex track and I believe it is Atlas that I am looking at. I am now using Bachmann EZ track and want to move over to flex track and need to adapt Bachmann to 100 flex track. Is there an advantage to cork over ready made foam roadbed?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
  4. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    Cork has been the standard for a long time. There is also homasote roadbed too. It all comes down to sound quality. They all sound a little bit different when trains roll over them. Look for videos comparing them if you want. If you do use glue to secure the track, make sure to get one that dries rubbery. If it ends up being really hard, you lose the sound quality of cork because the vibrations are not dampened anymore.
     
  5. sherman89

    sherman89 TrainBoard Member

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    A suggested rubbery glue would be?
     
  6. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    I have seen mention of Liquid Nails a few times as well as different latex caulks. Gluing the cork to the subroadbed (plywood layout surface, foam board, etc) can be done with wood glue or tacky glue. The interface between track and cork is where you want some play. Atlas flex track has holes in the ties for track nails, so if you nail the track, you don’t need to glue the track at all. It also allows easy adjustment because you don’t need to pull up the glue to fix kinks or undulations in the rail.
     
  7. sherman89

    sherman89 TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the tip on the nails, since I am in flux with track layouts with several changes the nails may be the way to go to keep up with the changes.
     
  8. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

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    The plastic roadbed/fake ballast is its own sound-board. It will be noisy on some surfaces. For example, laid on extruded foam, the pink or blue insulation board, it will be noisy. If you adhere it onto that surface with some cheap acrylic latex caulk, spread VERY thinly, it will be less noisy...somewhat less. If you are leaving the felt in place, you may find it even less noisy.

    In my short time in the hobby, the dead-quietest running is over bridges. And I do mean dead. The noisiest running is plastic track-bed laid directly onto foam or plywood. I even resorted to a desperation temporary layout on strips of waste drywall one time when we were finishing the basement and I was between layouts. I was amazed at how quiet the drywall strips were!

    Soundwaves don't propagate well through diverse densities of materials. So, if you want to dampen sound, use cork roadbed, or foam, or strips of plywood or MDF, or....BUTTTT...as soon as you place plastic or glue-infused and hardened grit for ballast around the ties and rails, those densities will transmit sound well and it'll all get noisy again.
     
  9. sherman89

    sherman89 TrainBoard Member

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    Ok, cork it is, is the Midwest cork make a good roadbed----I just ordered 100' of flextrack and nails in case I go the nail route
     
  10. sherman89

    sherman89 TrainBoard Member

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    I went with Midwest cork, it seems to be popular. Now to tack turnouts, I have been using Bachmann but they are not reliable.
     
  11. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    My main issue with the Bachmann turnouts have been the control boxes. The plug does not seem to make a very good electrical connection. If you would rather move away from Bachmann, PECO is a go-to for a lot of people. Atlas, Micro Engineering, Walthers all make switches.
     
    gmorider likes this.
  12. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

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    You might also try the dollar stores. They sometimes sell 1'x1' cork panels for peg boards. Cork roadbed can get pricey.
     

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